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Fortune Magazine, in a lengthy Oct. 29 article, “has confirmed that a Verizon iPhone will be released in early 2011.”

That’s great news for people who have been avoiding AT&T Inc., the exclusive iPhone carrier in the United States. But the situation also raises the question of whether Verizon Wireless has the capacity to handle the data hogs that iPhone users have proven themselves to be. CEO Ivan Seidenberg and COO Lowell McAdam, Seidenberg’s heir apparent, seem confident that the answer is yes. McAdam told Fortune that the Motorola Droid hogs data, too, and that the average Droid user eats more bandwidth than the average iPhone user.

Only thing is, there are a lot fewer Droids running on Verizon (Verizon wouldn’t tell Fortune exactly how many) than there are iPhones running AT&T.

Still, one of the great industry mysteries is why AT&T ended up with the iPhone before Verizon. Fortune found an answer to that question. Turns out, Verizon felt iPhone maker Apple wanted way too much control over how and where the devices would be sold, and it wanted too large a cut of the monthly service fees. (Steve Jobs’ company controlling?! C’mon!) As Fortune explains: “Verizon didn’t want to give up maintenance of its devices or its relationship with its customers, and it sought to distribute the phone through multiple retail partners. So Apple went with AT&T, of course, and conversations between Apple and Verizon about a phone essentially ceased for two years.”

But when AT&T started fielding all those iPhone-subscriber complaints about a slow network, Apple apparently started to reconsider its exclusivity arrangement. Not long after, Seidenberg and Jobs met, and the result of months of negotiations should come to Verizon shelves early next year.

Now it seems iPhone holdouts and Verizon-loyal consumers will have their chance at arguably the most popular smartphone ever made. Just remember, it probably won’t be white.

PhonemagTeam

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